Sheffield Wednesday are likely to go into tonight’s crunch match without one of their star performers…
What’s the latest?
According to YorkshireLive, Owls centre-back Chey Dunkley is facing ‘another spell on the sidelines’ after picking up a hamstring injury in training last week.
Indeed, the towering 29-year-old was a notable absentee on Sunday as Darren Moore’s side suffered a seventh successive defeat at the hands of league leaders Norwich City.
Whilst it remains to be seen how severe the issue is, hamstring problems can take several weeks to heal fully, so it would be a surprise to see him involved this evening as Wednesday host arch-rivals Huddersfield Town at Hillsborough Stadium.
Who should replace Dunkley in the starting XI?
Big blow for Moore
The Owls currently sit second from bottom, some seven points adrift of safety and of Birmingham City, who sacked their manager last week.
Tonight’s opposition aren’t too far away from being drawn into the dogfight either as the Terriers occupy 18th place, so tonight’s result is a crucial one for both teams but especially for Moore.
His new side need to start picking up points otherwise they might as well be planning for life in League One, at this rate.
And without Dunkley, the 46-year-old’s task gets even harder because the former Oxford and Wigan powerhouse has been one of the only shining lights in this miserable season.
In terms of average WhoScored rating for the current campaign, Dunkley ranks fifth (6.68), where he has proven to be the best centre-back at the club for reading the game having averaged two interceptions per game.
That sort of presence will be vital in thwarting the opposition, though that is something Moore is going to be without tonight.
He’s not just a colossal presence to have at the back either as he can chip in with goals too – at Wigan, he found the net 13 times. Only three Owls players have scored more than three goals this season, and they’re all forwards.
Speaking about his aerial ability and threat, former Latics teammate Sam Morsy lauded Dunkley “unbelievable” and claimed he was “lethal” in one to one situations, so his interception returns are now hardly a surprise.
Evidently, Moore could do with a player like Dunkley right now. He must find a way to stop the rot, and without the £10k-per-week beast, it’s a massive blow to his chances of doing so.
With only 11 games to play, the Yorkshire giants need him back sooner rather than later.